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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice Celebrations & Traditions

Today is Winter Solstice and a cause for celebration. Winter Solstice means, in the Northern Hemisphere, this day will be shortest in terms of sunlight for the whole year and tonight we will have the longest night of the year in terms of darkness. This occurs because  the axial tilt of the earth is farthest away from the sun ,so we get the longest amount of darkness within this 24 hour period.

Last year when this happened we also had a full moon and a lunar eclipse, three pretty big events occurring all at once.  This year the moon will be a mere sliver as we are heading into a New Moon phase on Christmas Eve. But, just like last year, the sun moves into Capricorn today.

The influence of Capricorn is one of responsibility to family and traditions. That can be a good thing or a bad thing in my opinion. 

In my part of the world at least, this is a very busy year.  Not only is Christmas starting to "sneak up" but there are a lot of other, totally unrelated things, happening at the moment.  People are changing jobs, looking for jobs, and new careers, dealing with family illness and crisis, moving home locations, traveling, struggling with relationship changes, and financial changes.  Despite all this change and adaptation, it seems many are struggling with a sense of trying to "uphold tradition".  There are lots of traditions and customs that celebrate Winter Solstice with feasts and dancing , lighting of candles, and get-to-gathers. They are meant as a celebration of the darkness that heralds the light.

But tradition and celebration doesn't always have to mean work, organizing, effort, planning, and exhaustion.  I think we might have got off the mark a bit on that in our "to do" world rather than our "to be" world.  Maybe we get a bit confused on what the tradition actually is. Maybe the tradition doesn't have to be a five course meal with "all the trimmings" done in a particular way.  Maybe the tradition is "just" that friends and family come together to share a meal.  Seems like that could be done in a restaurant, with take-out, or over pot luck, with easy comfort foods, and a whole lot less exhaustion. Maybe you can even just get together without having to involve a feast. Maybe it's about the "getting together" more than the eating. Maybe it's about the "getting together" more than the presents, or the perfect Christmas tree, or the right decorations, or "what has always been done".

Maybe this year's Winter Solstice is a good time to examine the traditions and sift through them a bit. Maybe it's a good time to reflect on what makes you and your family feel good and what causes angst and darkness in the name of "tradition". Maybe today or tonight are good opportunities to just sit with the darkness and find your inner light and your real cause for celebration. Light a candle to your inner knowing, your sense of self, and the traditions you hold dear.

May all your traditions be light!

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